Sunday, December 28, 2008

a birth story

So the night after I was up all night wondering if I was in labor, I actually did get up at 2 am and was in actual labor. You'd think the fourth time around I'd have things pretty well figured out, but I still sat around for an hour or so trying to decide if it was the real thing or not, and timed the contractions which were coming every 10 minutes, give or take a few - and annoyingly enough - not going away. I did a few things around the house, finished up laundry, put a few things away, made the bed downstairs for my mother in law, who would have to come and stay with my kids if we left. And by about 3:30 in the morning, I figured maybe I should wake up my husband so he could call his mother to come over, and we could get on the road. I phoned the hospital to make sure they knew we were coming - told the nurse my contractions were consistently 10 minutes apart and it was my fourth baby, and she said we'd better get on the road then. So, okay - we will.

I remember that in the last 10 minutes or so before we left, I was doing something so stupid as dusting the baseboards on my husband's side of the bed, because we had just finished painting the spare room earlier that night

Earlier that night...

- and even though I made the bed in there, I thought maybe my mother in law would rather sleep in our bed where the paint fumes weren't quite so thick. And when I switched on the light on his side of the bed, I was suddenly mortified by the thickness of the dust on the baseboards.

With all that important stuff taken care of - we hit the road with bags packed at about 4 am. I came back into the house three times looking for the little notepad where I'd been keeping track of contractions for the past few hours, it also had a bunch of important phone numbers and the list of baby names I'd narrowed down - I managed to misplace it sometime in the five minutes before we left the house and it didn't show up until two weeks after we got home.

The drive to the hospital was uneventful - I kept timing the contractions and found another notebook to write them down. They stayed a nice comfortable 10 minutes apart, the weather and the roads were good, so I wasn't worried. We arrived at the hospital around 6 am, they hooked me up to the monitors for a half hour or so - and I only had one contraction the whole time. I decided to walk around for awhile to see if I could get things going again, then went back to the room and fell asleep for an hour or so until my doctor came in to see me - and basically kicked us out! She said she had a bunch of patients being induced and delivering today and would be really busy, and couldn't do anything for me. Which was fine because I don't want her to 'do' anything for me, except catch my baby when he's ready to come out.

She wanted us to stay in town and check back in later or if things started to progress a bit more. That was good news for me because I can't imagine anything more boring than laboring in a hospital all day long, and I certainly didn't want them to speed things up for me. So, we checked out. I asked the nurse at the desk if it was okay if I ate - she said I could even have pizza and beer if I liked. Well, I would have liked, but it was still several hours until noon, so I didn't. I did hit Tim Horton's on the way out of the hospital, though.

We went straight to the mall where I had a big plate of french toast and coffee for breakfast, then we wandered around there for awhile, then went to Canadian Tire where I started to get pretty uncomfortable and had to find a place to sit while Serge wandered the aisles looking for stuff for the old truck he's fixing up. I don't think it was being in labor, but just the fact that its BOOOOORING - I needed to sit.

After that we went to Home Depot and got a screaming deal on a light for the girls' new room and a wireless doorbell, found parts for our vacuum cleaner and scoped out the deals on real Christmas trees. Then we went to Winners where I really started to feel tired and awful - but we had to pick up a few things at Wal-Mart before finally returning to the hospital at about 4 pm.

So, aside from an hour or so napping in the hospital that morning, I'd been up and in labor for 12 hours by that time, and walking all over the place for most of it. The hospital hooked me up to the monitors again, and my contractions weren't any closer than they were that morning. I told them I needed to get a room there, or I'd find one in a hotel because I needed a rest. They decided they had room to admit me this time.

I realized again that my contractions slowed down a lot when I stopped moving, so I spent the next few hours walking the halls and bouncing on one of those exercise balls - trying to get things moving so I could get an epidural and then get some rest. I had a nice long, warm bath and around 7 I was getting uncomfortable enough with the contractions that I wouldn't be able to sleep if I tried - so I finally asked for the epidural - then crawled into bed and slept on and off for the next few hours. Serge had a recliner in the room and he managed to get a little bit of sleep, too. He had bought a couple of DVD movies to watch but we couldn't get them to work on the little TV in the room - but did discover that the TV was hooked up so we weren't bored.

Happy with an epidural - about 3 hours to go

In the meantime it seems my doctor was delivering babies all over the place - but not mine. Nobody wanted my labor to progress until all these other babies were delivered, and I was more than happy not to be messed with or pushed along. Finally, the doctor had the last c-section done at past eleven or something, then she wanted to break my water and get me started on pitocin so she wouldn't be up all night waiting for me to deliver. It seemed to take forever, and they kept upping the dose on the pitocin - and being surprised when my contractions didn't seem to get any closer together. They kept asking if I felt pressure or anything - and actually - I didn't. I'd sort of lie and say I did just to keep them interested. Yeah, like they were going to call it a night and go home or something. I knew I'd have the baby sooner or later but I was getting bored waiting.

I was just starting to stress a little about what would happen if things didn't start moving - when they checked me and said I was at 9 cm and started dismantling the bed. The doctor came along and said I was ready to push - and she was ready, and I could push any time now. I asked her if I'm supposed to wait for a contraction. She said - well, yes. Cue Jeopardy theme music, because my contractions were *still* 5+ minutes apart, so we have this nurse and doctor waiting around at the end of the bed waiting for me to announce that I am having a contraction, so we can get this show on the road.

The long-awaited contraction finally hits, and so I got down to business with the pushing, etc. which I didn't expect to take long - it was just one or two long pushes, stopping only because she told me to stop (so I told Serge to get the camera, yes seriously, and yes, NOW...) and by the time he reached the camera and had it turned on...Evan arrived!

Hearing him cry for the first time

Helloo, baby!

He was born at 2: in the morning - and it was almost 4 am by the time we were all able to get to sleep. Evan was exhausted from being born, so he slept the rest of the night and woke up sometime after they brought me breakfast in the morning. Then I was finally able to get him out and dressed and take a good look at him - took a few (hundred) pictures. He spent most of his first day sleeping in the big recliner with his dad.

naked, cold and angry about it

warm and happy with clothes on

He clawed his face up the first night,
so then I made sure his hands were covered

soooooooo tired

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

nothing to do at 4 in the morning

except, update my blog, I guess. I keep waking up in the middle of the night thinking, I must be up for a reason. So I wait around for a couple of hours, put in a load of laundry, read a book, watch TV or whatever until it feels close enough to morning that it must be safe to go back to bed.

I really don't want to go into labor in the middle of the night - I did it once and it wasn't my favorite way to go about it. Mostly I hate to wake up when I am sleeping - I like to sleep. In the day I can figure out if I really should be thinking about going anywhere. At night, I just worry that I'll go back to sleep when we should be getting on the road - and end up having a home-birth or something.

It's weird to sit around waiting for your whole life to change. Things won't be the same ever again in a few days, or whenever this happens. Lots of people have babies and are so anxious for them to arrive but at this point, I just like every day we have where things get to stay the same as they've always been. I know those days are numbered, and we have the rest of our lives to enjoy what comes after. Of course I'm looking forward to finding out who he is and I know after he's born I'll be unable to imagine this life we have right now, without him in it. That's how it always goes. And then, I'll be wanting to stop time again because I know they grow up way too fast and I'll want to enjoy every minute of having a little baby. Unless he likes to scream a lot or something...

Anyway, its all going to happen whenever and however it happens, today, tomorrow - next week in the end, its just a day on the calendar. And right now, I just want a few more of those. And more sleep. I really should go back to sleep.

Hmm, I think this belly makes my face look fat. From this angle, anyway.